October 11th, 2011

Federal regulators rethinking guidelines on marketing food to children

By Dina ElBoghdady
Washington Post

A federal proposal that would restrict the kinds of foods marketed to children may soon be substantially changed to address the concerns raised by the food and beverage industry, which has aggressively lobbied against the plan for months.

In a statement submitted to a House panel on Monday, a federal regulator deeply involved in developing the voluntary guidelines said the government is taking a “fresh look” at its proposal and rethinking some of its most hotly contested aspects, including how it defines “children.”

The guidelines, designed to tackle childhood obesity, called on the industry to market to children only those foods and drinks that make a “meaningful contribution” to a healthful diet and to limit sodium, fats and added sugars in products. Under the voluntary plan, foods that don’t meet the criteria should not be marketed to children.

But since the plan was unveiled in May, the nation’s largest food makers, fast-food chains and media giants have railed against it. The industry, which adopted its own standards in 2006 and updated them recently, said the plan is so strict it would in effect wipe out advertising to kids and teens, eliminate millions of jobs and infringe on commercial speech.

Read more: http://wapo.st/oSIT5K

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